Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hipster Santa 2013

Don't call it a comeback! Hipster Santa returns to spread holiday irony, apathy, wit, and cynicism. Isn't that cool? Well, he thought it was cool before you did.

Hipster Santa has an apathetic attitude toward jingling as well as ring-ting-tingling. He does, however, like politics -- he's a card-carrying member of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.

Hipster Santa remembers Elmo before he went all mainstream. Back in the day, Elmo would have never allowed The Man to tickle him. Guess the money changed him. Not Hipster Santa... he refuses to be part of the system.

Hipster Santa doesn't follow mainstream sports like football, basketball, and hockey. He only likes sports that no one cares about, like figure skating and New York Mets baseball.

Hipster Santa never knew his father, but who needs a dad when you have every Elliott Smith record on vinyl?

Hipster Santa has a style all his own and American Apparel is his store of choice for all his wardrobe needs. American Apparel just so happens to be the store of choice for all other hipsters too... all of whom shopped there before the other. Not to brag, but Hipster Santa shopped there most first.

The Trayvon case deeply affected Hipster Santa... much more so than it affected you. Now he's extremely involved in the gentrification of the North Pole.

Hipster Santa would tell you his favorite bands, but you've probably never heard of them. Ho ho oh, what the heck... he likes Death Sled For Cutie, Christmas Eve 6, North Interpol, Cookies Milk Hotel, LCD Snowsystem, Elf Elf Cool J, Sleet Foxes, and Hanson.

Hipster Santa is aware of the current controversy over his skin color, but he honestly doesn't know if he's black or white -- he's too tolerant to notice things like that.

Hipster Santa doesn't touch that generic stuff. If it's not from a microbrewery, it gets a lump of coal.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

10(+) Things I Hate About UGA: 2013 Edition

Hate Week presents some problems for me. It's a challenge to balance my intense hatred for UGA with my inclination to not to be a total jerk. Part of me thinks it's in the spirit of the rivalry to bash the other school, while the other part realizes the inherent hypocrisy of degrading a school because I find its fans so... degrading. Maybe it's irrational to think the two sides of me can coexist... but what's college football if not irrational? In that spirit, I would like to present this year's version of my annual Hate poem. Georgia fans, I simultaneously apologize and hope it stings:

10(+) Things I Hate About UGA

I hate the way your fans all bark; you're not canines, you know?
I hate the way you misspell dogs; there's no A, it's an O
I hate how if your players went to Tech, they'd never pass
I hate how at your school, one of the majors is Turfgrass (it's true, look it up)
I hate how you call Tech kids nerds; okay, it's kinda true
But us nerds have four titles and you Dogs only have two
I hate how in recruiting, your school's the top banana
I hate how y'all love Athens, but you all live in Atlanta
I hate that in the war years, the Tech wins are contested
I hate how every season half your players get arrested
I hate the hedges, Hairy Dawg, and I hate black and red
I hate your drooling mascot; does it know that's it's inbred?

But I think I could get past these things, these UGA shortcomings
I can deal with Aaron Murray; I admire Gurley's running
But there's one thing I can't get past, and that thing's in the stands
The thing ALL people truly hate: obnoxious Georgia fans


Thursday, September 5, 2013

First and Tension: The NFL Gets Offensive

If you follow sports at all, you've probably heard about the controversy surrounding the team name of the Washington Redskins. Many Native American activists find the term "redskin" to be racially insensitive. Now, I'm not a Native American (aside from the 1/16th Cherokee that every white person in America seems to be) so I don't know how the term would make me feel. What I do know is that almost anything can be offensive if you allow it to be. Here a look at how each of the other 31 NFL franchises are offensive in their own ways:

Atlanta Falcons: Insensitive to penguins, ostriches, kiwis, and other flightless birds... and to humans, most of whom also can't fly. The city of Atlanta itself is offensive to the descendants of one William Tecumseh Sherman, whose ancestor worked tirelessly 150 years ago to burn the city to the ground.

Arizona Cardinals: Offensive to Protestants, Jews, and other non-Catholics as well as Musketeers and lower-ranking members of the Catholic church. Arizona itself is offensive to anyone who enjoys temperatures in the double digits.

Baltimore Ravens: Annoying to Miss -Symoné, who, thanks to Baltimore, must pretend to be impressed and flattered by the plethora of fantasy football teams named "That's So Ravens."

Buffalo Bills: Offensive to Misters Clinton, Cosby, Murray, and Nye the Science Guy, who would prefer not to share their first name with a team that lost four straight Super Bowls.

Carolina Panthers: Wait, how come no one is offended by a team who shares a mascot with a militant socialist organization?

Chicago Bears: Offensive to husky, gay men and Stephen Colbert.

Cincinnati Bengals: Insulting to house cats, who would like a more accurate representation of a Bengal as the team's logo.

Cleveland Browns: Everyone feels too sorry for the Cleveland Browns to be offended by them.

Dallas Cowboys: Hurtful to cowgirls, cowmen, and cowwomen, who feel neglected by the team name. The city of Dallas is offensive to those who prefer the show Dynasty.

Denver Broncos: Insulting to anyone who think OJ got off easy -- which is everyone -- including OJ. Also offensive to Land Rovers, Escapes, and Grand Cherokees.

Detroit Lions: Irritating to Simba, Nala, Mufasa, and the rest of the lions of Pride Rock, who feel they are better at football than the Detroit Lions -- except for Calvin Johnson.

Green Bay Packers: I got nothing here. The name Packers couldn't possibly be construed into anything offensive.

Houston Texans: Galling to the populations of all 49 other states who are sick and tired of being told not to mess with Texas. We get it, it's a large state and "mess with" and "Texas" kind of rhyme -- how wonderful for you.

Indianapolis Colts: Surely the horseshoes on their helmets are offensive to animal rights activists -- no respectable colt would be caught dead wearing such hideous footwear.

Jacksonville Jaguars: I'm pretty offended by those new two-toned helmets of theirs.

Kansas City Chiefs: Offensive to Native Americans? Nope. Offensive to grammar lovers who treasure the "I before E except after C" rule.

Miami Dolphins: Offensive to no one. Dolphins are adorable.

Minnesota Vikings: Biased against Viqueens.

New England Patriots - Upsetting to Loyalists of King George. Also offensive to any team who does not like having their closed practices illegally taped.

New Orleans Saints: Offensive, but not very defensive. Also unsettling to those who don't like to have their ACLs destroyed by linebackers after the whistle.

New York Giants: Neglectful to little people who would very much like an NFL team named after them, though they do dominate TLC programming.

New York Jets: Disrespectful to the New York Mets, whose rhyming team name is the original benchmark for futility on the field.

Oakland Raiders: A little confusing as to why no one opposes to naming a team after a group of marauders. It honestly is weird which team names come under fire. I can see Redskins being offensive because that particular term has a negative connotation, but what's with the heat on teams named the Chiefs, Braves, Indians, etc. Those aren't negative, they're just... groups of people. Raiders, on the other hand, are bandits, burglars, thieves, and scoundrels, which aside from describing the city of Oakland fairly well, isn't the most enlightened of team names.

Philadelphia Eagles: Hated by fellow Philadelphia franchise, the Phillies, who are envious that Eagles players are equipped with helmets with which to protect themselves from the constant barrage of bottles, batteries, and other projectiles hurled their way by Philly fans.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Disliked by descendants of the Rockefeller and Vanderbilt families.

St. Louis Rams: Misogynistic toward ewes. The city of St. Louis is also offensive to those who are flat-footed.

San Diego Chargers: Discourteous to those who prefer to pay in cash.

San Francisco 49ers: Dismissive of pioneers who took part in the Silver Rush in 1843, the Bronze Frenzy of 1847, and Pewter-Palooza 2010.

Seattle Seahawks: You would think Airhawks would be offended by not being chosen as the Seattle mascot, but as always, it's those Sandhawks who are really whining about it.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: See: Raiders, Oakland.

Tennessee Titans: Offensive to greek gods who worked hard to defeat and control the giant race.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Who Let the Dogs In?

It seems like stories about "rescued" dogs or dogs that need "rescuing" are taking up an increasing amount of space on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. "Rescue" has become the watchword for dog lovers, but I've found that my definition of rescue is quite different than theirs.
It's easy to wanna rescue this guy...

Here's what I picture when I think of someone rescuing a dog:

A dog and a man go skydiving. After jumping from the plane, the dog's parachute doesn't open. Apparently the dog didn't pay attention during the mandatory training course because it's not even reaching for its emergency chute. Realizing the dog is in peril, the man darts down, grabs the dog, pulls his own ripcord, and holds the dog until they both land safely on the ground.


A woman stands in the middle of a long hallway. At one end sits an adorable puppy. At the other end stands Michael Vick. The woman sprints and scoops up the puppy, somehow outrunning the fleet-footed, dog-abusing quarterback down the hall. Still on the run and about to get caught from behind, she launches the puppy through an open window and safely into the arms of Sarah McLachlan, who happened to be standing outside... and singing Angel.


At long last, a dog-loving housewife has booked an appointment for her and her Pomeranian to see Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. Halfway through the session, Cesar reveals he's actually a Cylon and, in addition to wanting to kill all humans, wants to also rid the planet of canines. The housewife somehow evades the Cylon, hurries home, watches the entire Battlestar Galactica series on DVD, learns how to kill Cylons, drives back to Cylon Millan's office and takes him out, saving the Pomeranian's life.

Those are some terrific examples of rescuing a dog.

The following is an example of the "rescue" stories I read online:

I saw a dog in the park and he didn't have a leash so I was like "OMG, this dog is homeless. I gotta rescue it." So I coaxed him into getting into my car with a dog treat and took him home, but my husband is allergic to dogs so I can't keep him. Can someone please rescue this poor pup? He's super cute and only 150 lbs and even though he doesn't exactly understand the difference between dog food and human flesh, he's a sweetheart... as long as you don't get him around other dogs... sometimes he eats other dogs. So please rescue this sweet puppy before my husband goes into anaphylactic shock and dies. Me and BWAAAAAAAARG would really appreciate it! :) 
P.S. - I named him BWAAAAAAAARG after the cute sound he makes when he's chasing my toddler around the house. lol

Sadly, that's not even that much of an exaggeration. A good half of the rescue stories I see on Facebook are people who take home strays, realize they can't keep it, then try to pawn the dog off on someone else. I understand dogs can be cute and it's great to have a sympathetic heart and to want to help animals, but you can't just take in every sad-looking puppy you see on the street.

... but what about BWAAAAAAAARG?
I've got good news though -- you don't have to!

Dogs happen to be animals and animals happen to be... wild! This means they don't need humans to take care of them. They can feed themselves. They can find their own shelter. They can even get exercise by running around on their own... without a leash! Pets are pets for the owner's sake, not for the animal's. Animals could get along fine without humans -- I mean, have you seen DuckTales or Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers? Sure, maybe without you as an owner your dog might start hanging with the wrong dog crowd, pick on innocent little cats, and blow his shot at getting into a good dog school, but it would find its way.

Obviously, I'm not much of a dog-person, but I'm not really this heartless. I know dogs can be fun, loyal pets and I think it's great that dog lovers enjoy their dogs. Still, the whole "please rescue this dog" thing is getting pretty tired. Dogs can fend for themselves, be happy on their own, and sometimes even solve crimes with a gang of meddling kids -- they rarely need to be rescued.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sports: A Love Story

This is my 200th entry in this blog. After 2+ years of Black History, Hipster Santa, and lots of randomness, I decided to mark this occasion by writing about something near and dear to my heart: sports.

It's easy to become disillusioned with anything, even something you love. I love sports, but with all the steroids and money and illegal activities and egotism and media involved, even someone like me, who truly enjoys sports, can get a little cynical. When the best players are cheaters and the best teams are the ones with the most money and the best programs are the ones that "recruit" the best, it's not hard to fall out of love with sports -- and sometimes I almost do -- until I realize one important thing: that's not what sports are all about.

I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to letting ESPN cloud my perception of sports. Watching sports television can quickly make you lose sight of the essence of sports and view it as an unfeeling business full of overpaid clowns. Even though that's not a completely inaccurate description, it is an incomplete one. The essence of sports is competition and hard work and will and overcoming adversity and all that good stuff you can find on a motivational poster. It's corny, it's cliche, but it's true.

Though it's fun to watch LeBron James dunk over a defender, or see Miguel Cabrera launch a 450-foot home run, or witness Tom Brady throw a 60-yard touchdown pass, that isn't what sports are to me.

It's spending weeks breaking in your glove until it feels like an extension of your own hand.

It's not leaving the gym until you hit five jumpers in a row.

It's getting hit so hard that it actually feels good.

It's catching a ball in the gap that you didn't think you had a snowball's chance at getting to.

It's knowing the basketball's going in as soon as it leaves your hand.

It's when scrappy and persistent defeats talented.

It's turning the ball over, then hustling back to make a play on D at the other end.

It's the chubby guy struggling to run a mile on his neighborhood streets, but never quitting.

It's the undersized kid that works and wills his way into the starting lineup.

It's playing your heart out, not just for you, but also for your teammates.

It's beating my dad in one-on-one after hundreds of losses and knowing it's the first time he's glad he lost at anything.

It's a million personal, intangible moments you experienced on the practice court or the playing field that aren't just memories, but part of who you are.

Sometimes I ask myself questions like, "why does it matter so much to me that the Braves win?" When you get down to it, it's just a bunch of grown men playing a game. I think it's because, at some level, everybody on that team and every athlete on any team also loves sports. They could read this story and know exactly what I'm talking about, how I feel. They were also kids who liked the smell of the diamond and the feel of the bat in their hands. They're like me, just way better at baseball.

Call me crazy, but I think God loves sports too. I honestly believe He put that spark inside us that fuels competition and drives us to be better, to endure, and to overcome. It's like Olympian Eric Liddell says in Chariots of Fire: "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." I think loving sports is embracing something God put inside of me and I honestly feel that, in a way, sports can give us a better understanding of the Lord -- and that's something worthy of a 200th blog post.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


The other day I stumbled upon a series the A.V. Club is doing called HateSong. Essentially, the website invited writers, comedians, and musicians to contribute little blurbs about a song they hate and why. There was a piece on "Thrift Shop" by a father who dislikes the song because it has inspired some awkward questions from his children; one about "Semi-Charmed Life" by a music producer who had an unpleasant personal encounter with Third Eye Blind; and one concerning Katy Perry's "Firework" by a comedian who, well, just seems to hate everything.

Don't listen to that mean man, Katy
I don't dislike any of those songs. I liked "Thrift Shop" fine the first 200 times I heard it. I think Third Eye Blind is actually an underrated band and singling out all the subtle drug references in "Semi-Charmed Life" is a favorite pastime of mine. And don't get me started on Katy Perry -- anyone who knows me will tell you I have a great affinity for all things Teenage Dream, including "Firework." Still, it was fun reading about why these guys hated these songs and it got me thinking about what my HateSong might be.

Not a fan of the 80s. Believe it.
I toyed with the idea of picking John Mayer's "Your Body Is a Wonderland," but I decided I like some of his other stuff enough to where I didn't want to do that. I also thought about "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey, but that might incite a riot from the millions of people who only know the first few lines of the song and sing it loudly then taper off until it gets to the part about cheap perfume, then taper off again love the song. I could pick just about any country song, but I would have a hard time picking just one and anyway, this isn't HateGenre, it's HateSong. Finally, I settled on the offender:

"Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis

I went big and picked the #1 single of 2008 as my HateSong. I think many of the songs we end up hating are ones that we liked to some degree initially, but grew old as we heard them too often. This isn't the case with Bleeding Love -- I never liked it. I'm not exactly sure what it is about the song that rubs me the wrong way, but it does. Maybe it's the constant bleeding or the overexposure or the alliteration of the artist's name -- who knows? Maybe if I break it down, I can make like Summer Sanders and figure it out.
Maybe it's the lyrics. Bleeding love -- what does that even mean? I don't think it's a good idea to bleed anything, even something as pleasant and reputable as love. And when you are bleeding, it's probably a good idea to close the wound, not sing about it... repeatedly. Still, lots of song lyrics don't really make sense. Jimmy Eat World has a song about bleeding ("Bleed American") and I like it despite its ambiguous, blood-related lyrics, so it's not that.

Maybe it's the singing. I'm not the biggest expert on pitch and tone and all that stuff the American Idol judges are always harping on, but it seems to me that Leona Lewis is a pretty talented singer. Just in case, I googled here (wow, that feels dirty when you type it) and it turns out that she won the UK version of The X-Factor, so I guess that eliminates any doubts of her talent. (I also found out that she's black, which worries me. I wouldn't want anyone to think this is a HateSong Crime.)

Maybe it's associative. Maybe I was in a bad mood the first time I heard the song and I dislike it because I associate it with that memory. Sadly, I don't remember when I first heard Bleeding Love and can't relate it to any bad time in particular. I guess we'll never know -- unless I can get my hands on a time machine and go back in time to the first time I heard the song. Of course, I could also use the time machine to prevent the song from ever happening-- and to warn myself not to draft Ryan Braun in the first round of fantasy baseball this past year.

The McClincher
So what is it about Bleeding Love that makes me turn the station every time it comes on the radio? It's not the singer, it's not the lyrics, it's not association. Is it possible to just not like something for no reason at all? Maybe. But I decided to resort once again to Google, this time to look up the song itself. That's when I saw it: the reason I hate the song.

Jesse McCartney.

I can't believe that kid and his beautiful soul being are responsible for one of the biggest hits of the last decade. You're already a famous, good-looking singer and actor, you don't get to be talented too. I think, on some level, I could tell Jesse McCartney wrote Bleeding Love... and I think maybe that's why I hate it. Regardless, Bleeding Love will forever be on my bad side -- and never on a single one of my mixtapes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Most Beautiful


A few months ago, People Magazine named Gwyneth Paltrow the most beautiful woman in the world. I didn't know publications could just do that. You know, technically this blog is a publication. Can I make hegemonic, wide-sweeping declarations too? I declare I can. Here are some declarations from The Kids Are Aight:

  • Girls Scout Cookies are now a food group. They replaced dairy on the food pyramid. Sorry rest of the world, I know you'll miss your milk, but I'm lactose intolerant. Recommended servings are two Tagalongs, three Samoas, and a good turn daily.
  • Ke$ha is now Kesha. No more dollar sign for you -- we're in the middle of a recession.
  • No more obscure U.S. capitals. Sorry Albany, Sacramento, and Austin; you've been replaced by New York City, Los Angeles, and Dallas. You're welcome 4th grade Geography students.
  • The designated hitter is no more. Sorry American League, now you're gonna have to play real baseball.
  • No more paying for vowels on Wheel of Fortune -- they're free -- we're in the middle of a recession.
  • No new Adam Sandler movies. Sorry Adam -- maybe I'll let you make Billy Madison 2 if you promise to be funny again.
  • Gas is $1.00. Not sorry, OPEC.

Sadly, this blog is not People Magazine. I lack whatever power they possess that turns subjectivity into objectivity. I actually don't mind the whole People's Most Beautiful thing, but I do have one inquiry: why does the "Most Beautful Woman" change every year? Last year it was Beyonce. I could understand the switch to Gwyneth Paltrow this year if Beyonce had died or become horribly disfigured or something, but she looks pretty much the same. How did Gwyneth pass Beyonce in the rankings? Did Coldplay get better critical reviews than Jay-Z last year? Did Shakespeare in Love's Academy Award get shinier? Is Beyonce's body too bootylicious for ya, babe People Magazine? Whatever their methods, they're still better than the BCS -- talk about meaningless titles and subjectivity.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Shut Up and Play the Hits

It's inevitable. A band puts out a few successful records and it thinks it has the right, nay, the obligation to turn the stage into a political soapbox. I don't mind musicians speaking out about what they believe in, but sometimes it's hard to take certain artists seriously. For instance:

Advocate for social change, popping tags
Macklemore - I saw Macklemore (and Ryan Lewis... poor guy, he gets no cred) at a free show in Atlanta in the spring. He spent a good five minutes lecturing the crowd on marriage equality. That's all good and well, but people don't exactly line up to get political lessons from a dude who raps about zebra jammies, velcro shoes, and R. Kelly's urine. Seems as though Mr. Macklemore had an agenda in his pocket to go along with that $20.

Green Day - The band dedicated an entire album to the Election back in 2004 and have made a habit of political grandstanding throughout their careers. Whether you agree with Billie Joe and Co. or not, you've gotta admit that it's tough to heed political advice from a band named after marijuana with a propensity to name their albums after feces.

Incubus - Back in college, Incubus was one of the biggest rock bands in the world and boy did they hate George W. Bush. They even released a single called Megalomaniac that compared him to Hitler. Now, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it's difficult to take their criticism of the former president seriously knowing that their band is named after a demon who has intercourse with women in their sleep.

The Dixie Chicks - Regardless of whether or not they're ready to make nice, I can't in good conscience take their political message to heart knowing that they murdered that poor Earl fellow. With black eyed peas nonetheless! I'm still unsure if they actually poisoned a can of black eyed peas or if they killed Earl by making him listen to the band of the same name. Both are lethal.

Toby Keith - It's hard enough to trust a man with two first names, but it's exceptionally difficult to take his uber-patriotic message seriously knowing that he gives beer to his horses. And what's with the entire song dedicated to a red solo cup? That's not very environmentally friendly. (If you're thinking I threw in a Conservative here at the end in an attempt to even things out a little bit... you're right.)

The point I'm trying to make here (in a very roundabout way) is not that we shouldn't trust musicians for political advice (though you shouldn't), but that we as individuals should think about our baggage when we take up a cause. For instance, if I were to take up a cause on Facebook, I need to realize that the same people who read my posts on said cause are also probably going to find the link to this silly blog. Just as I'm prone not to embrace political advice from Macklemore thanks to his song "Thrift Shop," others probably wouldn't take my views seriously because I named the Kool-Aid guy a Black History Month hero. And that's fine. In the same vein, before you change your profile picture to this or this or, Lord help me, rant about Trayvon, it's probably a good idea to make sure you (and everything you post) make you a decent representative for your causes and viewpoints. It's a good thing, even a noble thing, to fight for what you believe in and there are a lot of extremely worthy causes out there, but are we as people (especially young people) so arrogant as to assume that we're doing the cause a favor simply by attaching our name to it? Sometimes the best way to further your cause is to not be a visible part of it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

TV Crushes

I read an article on the AV Club not too long ago where the whole staff wrote a paragraph about their first crush on a character of a TV show. They were funny, sweet, charming, and endearing -- so I asked some of my funny, sweet, charming, and endearing friends to write a few words about one of their first TV crushes -- the result is funny sweet, charming, and endearing. Also, I wrote one:

Peyton Sawyer - One Tree Hill
   ~ David Hammock

I know what you're thinking; One Tree Hill is a show for teenage girls. Well that's true, but what you should be thinking is SHUT UP. My little sister was a big One Tree Hill fan when she was younger and I would occasionally watch it with her and I ended up getting hooked on all the wonderfully angsty drama. In addition to said drama, OTH (don't call it that) offered two pretty great things: a surprisingly legit indie soundtrack and a cute, indie cheerleader named Peyton Sawyer. Good looks and good taste in music -- move over Hannah Montana, P. Sawyer represents the best of both worlds. She was the perfect balance of smart, witty, playful, and broody... and all her music was on vinyl. I almost went with Veronica Mars instead of Peyton, but it's been a long time since was into that show and, well, you know, I don't want to be anything other than what I've been trying to be lately.

Kimberly Hart - Power Rangers
   ~ Ryan Nichols

While the pterodactyl is far from my favorite dinosaur, it definitely represents the hottest of the Power Rangers. Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) was a fearsome fighter and a worthy gymnast, but most importantly, she was always nice to the not-so-formidable blue ranger, who was my favorite. Of course, she was VERY nice to the green ranger, but I think she was only interested in his "dragon-dagger." My love for Kimberly was so strong that I even followed Amy Jo Johnson's post-power ranger career. She starred in Susie Q as a prom-obsessed socialite and then... I gave up on her. I wanted to remember Amy Jo at her best -- as the charming, happy-go-lucky, flexible, pink martial artist on Power Rangers.

Diane Chambers - Cheers
   ~ T.S. Oldman

Since I'm in my 20s and watch an inordinate amount of television, I should probably say someone like Aubrey Plaza's April from Parks & Rec or Zooey Deschanel playing a version of herself on New Girl, but I can't. My heart will always belong to Diane Chambers and her five wonderful seasons on the best sitcom in the history of televsion, Cheers. (Seinfeld is only an acceptable answer if you are heartless person who prefers the quotable nihlism of Jerry's "No hugs, no learning" mantra to Cheers' heartfelt, live-audience fun). Shelley Long's Diane was a  professional student who studied art, literature, and sociology, yet, couldn't fathom why anyone would care about baseball, hockey, or basketball. Brilliant but naive. More than anything else, Diane's sharp wit and facial ticks always made me laugh. Having never watched the show growing up (toddlers aren't so great at following dialogue), I plowed through the first five seasons last year on Netflix. And despite knowing that Diane wasn't coming back for a sixth season, I still teared up while watching her last scene. Not my strongest moment, but that's what crushes ultimately do: leave you little bit happy, a little bit sad, and your eyes a little bit wet.

Sydney Bristow - Alias
   ~ Tom Kimsey

Five minutes into the JJ Abrams spy series and I was smitten. Yes, with JJ Abrams, but I'll save that obsession for another day. Sydney Bristow is the perfect balance for any guy - capable, sexy spy and lovable girl-next-door. Not to mention single (thank you colorblind assassin), though maybe not so much available (Bradley Cooper, sexiest man of the year, called dibs before I had a chance). Through five seasons my love never waned, even though she forgot about me and every other guy who had a chance with her in that awesome season two cliffhanger. Syd, no matter how long it takes to get in your dad's good graces; through all the missions, the convoluted plots, and the changing code names (you'll always be my Mountaineer); I'll be here for you.

Kate Austen - Lost
   ~ Stephan Rabbitt

I never had cable growing up so I was limited to about eight channels for the first 18 years of my life. Of those eight channels, many came in quite fuzzy with our rabbit ear antenna. The only programming I regularly watched was Braves baseball, so I draw from a somewhat limited pool of shows. First, I thought about going with Kelly Kapowski. But, let's be honest, who didn't have a crush on Kelly Kapowski? After that, I thought about Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. This one was mostly ruled out because I have an awful memory and couldn't tell you a thing about her other than that she shipwrecked on a 3-hour tour, a 3-hour tour...and that her and the professor were left out of theme song for a while. Instead, I went with a more recent deserted (or is it) island vixen... Kate Austen. She has the distinct advantage of being on one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Also, we have tons in common. She worked in the hatch to save-the-world by typing numbers in a computer. I save the world doing the same thing every day at work, one taxpayer at a time. Clearly, we would get along great. I could teach her some Excel tricks:

Rabbitt: You know, Kate - I bet I can record a macro to enter these numbers in so you don't have to manually input every 108 minutes.
Austen: Wow, that would be great. You are my favorite! We can use that extra time to talk and learn more about each other's past.
Rabbitt: ...Actually, let's stick with the manual input.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Go Ahead, Drink the Haterade

Haterade isn't a real product. You can't buy it in stores or even purchase it online. As much as the word Haterade is thrown around these days, it's a surprise and a shame that it's not an actual drink. You would think some eccentric person with money to blow would take a chance on this gimmick and start mass producing some delicious Haterade for the world to enjoy -- or maybe to hate. Maybe it's just that no one has thought up a solid assortment of Haterade flavors. That's where I come in. Here are some of my ideas for Haterade flavors:

Sour Grape
Passion-Aggressive Fruit
All Lemon, No Lime
Orange Crushed Spirit
Pink Gripefruit
On Mountain Blast
Fruit Punch (some things don't change)

That's a good start, but what sports drink is complete without famous athlete endorsements? Gatorade boasts well-liked athletes like Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning to advertise their products. Haterade should go in the opposite direction -- special flavors endorsed by the most hated athletes in all of sports:

Lance Armstrong's Blood Orange Transfusion
Ray Lewis' I'm a Changed Mango
Metta World Peach
Brett Favre's Trouser Dragonfruit
OJ Simpson's Guilt-Tea
Alex Rodriguez's Lifetime Banana
Tiger Woods' Apricot With Your Pants Down
Mike Tyson's Tropical Punch
Manti Te'o's Lemon Lie
Kobe Bryant's Alleged Grape

I wonder which of those flavors would sell the best. Certainly not Brett Favre's Trouser Dragonfruit.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Humble, Young Man, Humble

By far my least favorite part of pick-up basketball games are the rare times when I'm a captain and have to pick my own team. It's hard to judge the talent and athletic ability of guys you've never played with before. With little to go on, you would think I'd simply pick the tall guys or the muscular guys or, let's face it, the black guys; but really it's a crap shoot as to what you get. Sometimes the tall guys can't shoot. Sometimes the muscular guys are slow. Sometimes the black guys can barely dunk from the free throw line. You really just don't know what you're gonna get. That's why I only have one rule when picking a basketball team... or any kind of sports team for that matter: don't pick the guy wearing the braggy Nike shirt.

You know what I'm talking about. Those shirts emblazoned with the big, bold font that reads something obnoxious like, "YOU'VE BEEN SERVED" or "I GOT GAME" or heaven help me, "BEASTMODE." It's not that I hate the shirts -- well, I kinda hate the shirts -- it's that without fail, the guy wearing the shirt is never any good. In fact, the more boastful the shirt, the less "GAME" he got. Trust me, if you're ever picking a basketball team at your local gym, don't pick the dude in the "BEASTMODE" shirt. You'll be down by ten points wondering if his three bricks, seven turnovers, and five Gatorade breaks are part of "BEASTMODE" or if he's waiting for just the right time to start playing some gosh dang defense.

Aside from my dislike of the slogan shirts within the context of a pick-up basketball game, I just don't like the idea of self-aggrandizement. It's a no-win situation. If you can't back up your own crowing, you look bad, and even if you are as good as you say, you still come off looking like a jerk. That's why I propose Nike should produce a new line of slogan shirts; tees with meek, self-effacing slogans such as:


Leastmode. Now that's a shirt I could wear. If I stink up the gym, well, at least I warned you. If I score a few buckets, hey, everyone's impressed. Either way, I don't look bad. I doubt Nike would get behind an idea like this. Cockiness sells, humility doesn't. In the end, I guess there are worse things in the world than a few guys at the gym wearing unsubstantiated t-shirts. Still, I think the sports world could use a little less Nike -- and a little more Just Do It.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Black History Month Great Black Person #28 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #28 of 28:

Maybe you're black. Maybe you're not. Either way, you're this year's final BHM honoree. After three years of doing these Black History Month profiles, I still get compliments and encouragement day after day and it's very much appreciated. Thanks for reading, for the likes, for the re-posts, and for the love.

Black History Month Great Black Person #27 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #27 of 28: 
Gerald from Hey Arnold

Hey Arnold was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid and a big part of that was because of Arnold's best friend Gerald. Gerald was as loyal and trustworthy as his flat top was high. He also rocked that ambiguous #33 jersey like every day, so maybe Gerald's mom deserves a BHM shout out too, for all that washing she must have had to do. So happy BHM, Gerald... I'm not saying that Arnold's not cool, but Hey Gerald, you're my favorite.

Black History Month Great Black Person #26 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #26 of 28: 
Dikembe Mutombo

I have to admit, before Geico started running those Dikembe Mutombo commercials, I had kinda forgotten about him. The 7'2" center played for my hometown team, the Atlanta Hawks, for much of his long NBA career in which he consistently lead the league blocked shots, yet I forgot about him. I'm truly sorry, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo. I'm sorry I forgot your eight All-Star selections, your four Defensive Player of the Year awards, and your trademark finger wag. Will it happen again? (You can't see me, but I'm doing the finger wag right now.) Happy BHM, Dikembe!

Black History Month Great Black Person #25 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #25 of 28: Chocolate Rain Guy

YouTube got a delicious surprise in 2007 when Tay Zonday burst onto the scene with his hit viral video "Chocolate Rain." Sure, the video went viral for all the wrong reasons, but don't you worry Tay, famous is famous. You may be kinda nerdy, but

**I move away from the keyboard to breathe in**

your "Chocolate Rain" video has been viewed nearly 100 million times. 100 million! That's something to be proud of, Mr. Zonday. So happy BHM, buddy... your video made an awful lot of people smile and you have the same number of #1 hits as Nicki Minaj.

Black History Month Great Black Person #24 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #24 of 28:
Lily & Layla

My two black cats Lily and Layla never marched on Washington or fought for civil rights, but for 11 years, they were two of my most loyal friends. They both went to the great litter box in the sky this past year and I miss them. Happy BHM, Lily and Layla... you were the best pets a guy could have.

Black History Month Great Black Person #23 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #23 of 28:
Boyz II Tuskegee Airmen

The bad thing about Black History Month is that it's so short that it makes it difficult to cram all the worthy black profiles into February's 28 days. That's why for this installment, I'm pulling double duty. This installment features both the soulful R&B group, Boyz II Men, and the first group of African-American U.S. fighter pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen. Now at first glance, these two groups seem to be mutually exclusive, but that's just not the case. Boyz II Men and the Tuskegee Airmen are both groups of black guys who had a lot of hits. They both... ok, maybe they don't have a ton in common, but I'd like to think that if Boyz II Men was around during World War II (hey, there's another thing, they're both reliant on the roman numeral II), that the Tuskegee Airmen would be shooting down enemy planes with "Motownphilly" playing in the background... somehow. I guess in this scenario, the Tuskegee Airmen also had iPods. Anyway, happy BHM, Boyz II Tuskegee Airmen... thanks for killing 'em softly with your song/turrets.

Black History Month Great Black Person #22 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #22 of 28:
College Park, GA

If you followed the BHM rundown last year, you'll remember that I featured my rather dangerous hometown of Riverdale, Georgia. Well, College Park is its sister (or maybe sista) city of sorts and was a second home to me as a child. Located about ten miles north of Riverdale, College Park (pronounced Collipark by the natives) is where my grandparents lived and where I stayed when my parents were at work. Much like Riverdale, College Park has a predominately black population and more than its fair share of criminal activity; nevertheless, the city holds a special place in my heart. There's a certain pride to having survived, I mean lived, in College Park... and I'm not the only one who thinks so... Cam Newton, Ludacris, Josh Smith, Monica, Yung Joc, Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, Mr. Collipark, 2 Chainz, Bill Curry, Tameka Cottle, Morgan Burnett, Key Fox, Bubba Sparxxx (close enough), and Creflo Dollar have all called College Park home. Not too shabby for a city less than ten square miles in area. So happy BHM, College Park... you may be home to the highest crime rates in the state, but you're also home to a Heisman trophy, which Cam will tell you covers up all sorts of criminal behavior.

Black History Month Great Black Person #21 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #21 of 28:
Tracy Morgan

I must be out of my mindgrapes to have waited this long to honor Tracy Morgan. To think of a Black History Month without the man behind Brian Fellow's Safari Planet... that's crazy! Sure, Tracy has struggled with alcoholism and sometimes has trouble knowing when to keep his mouth shut, but when it comes to making people laugh, he's one of the best. And isn't that what's most important... making people laugh? No, actually getting that alcoholism under control should probably take priority. Fortunately for Tracy, and for his fans, the drinking problems are in the past. So thanks Tracy, for your characters on Saturday Night Live, for your role on 30 Rock, and for inspirational quotes like this: "I want to hold a mirror up to society... and then win world record for biggest mirror."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Black History Month Great Black Person #20 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #20 of 28:
Mr. T

Forget Misters A through S and don't even think about Misters U through Z. There's only one Mister/letter combo I'm interested in, and that's Mr. T.. Laurence Tureaud (AKA Mr. T) pities the fool who celebrates BHM without him. Whether you remember him as B.A. Baracus from the A-Team, as Clubber Lang from Rocky III, or even as a night elf mohawk from the WoW commercials, there's no denying Mr. T's charisma. His intensity and style have made him an American icon, while his heart and generosity have made him a mohawk-ed role model. Happy BHM, Mr T.... you would shine even without all those gold chains around your neck.

Black History Month Great Black Person #19 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #19 of 28:
The Black Angry Bird

Anyone who has played Angry Birds knows that the birds are angry because those dastardly green pigs stole their eggs... but for the black bird, it's more than just that. Unfortunately, avian civil rights haven't progressed as much as you may have thought. Despite their heroic efforts against the evil pigs, black birds are still subject to Jim "Crow" laws and are forced to sit at the back of the slingshot. Despicable. Lucky for the other birds, these injustices haven't hindered the black bird's effort in fighting the enemy. Every day, the black bird "swallows" his pride and takes out his frustration in a healthy way...  by exploding and killing everything within reach. So kudos to you, black Angry Bird, for concentrating your anger in a constructive manner and for being by far the most effective bird in the game.

Black History Month Great Black Person #18 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #18 of 28:
Downtown Abbey

No, that's not a typo. I know the popular BBC period drama is named Downton Abbey, but that's not of what I speak. Downtown Abbey is a show I'm pitching to BET. It's also a drama in the same vein as Downton, but unlike Downton, there will actually be black people in the show. My series is set in the fictional town of Detroit, England and follows the Cosby family as they struggle to maintain ownership of their inner city, three bedroom castle amid the social and financial impediments of the day. Instead of playing cricket and eating bread pudding like the characters in Downton, the Downtown characters all run track and eat at the famous British fast food restaurant, Cathedral's Chicken. I'm not overly optimistic that Downtown Abbey will be a success, but I figure if I can get 10-15 African-Americans to tune in, I'll be outperforming Downton Abbey in the black demographic. It should be noted that in addition to BET, the series will be broadcast in conjunction with PBS and Master P Theater.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Black History Month Great Black Person #17 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #17 of 28:
All the Lil People

With Black History Month heavyweights like Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and George Washington Carver headlining the month-long celebration every February, it's easy to forget about the lesser known, yet equally important African-Americans who have impacted black culture. Here's a quick shout out to all the lil people:

Lil Wayne, Lil Kim, Lil Jon, Lil Romeo, Lil B, other Lil B, Lil CLil J, Lil Jojo, Lil Keke, Lil O, Lil P-Nut, Lil T, Lil Fizz, Lil Boosie, Lil Bitts, Lil Fame, Lil Flip, Lil Bow Wow, Lil Cease, Lil C-Note, Lil 1/2 Dead, Lil Bruce, Lil Malik, Lil Louis, Lil Mama, Lil Mo, Lil Poison, Lil Rev, Lil Ric, Lil Rob, Lil ScrappyLil Zane, Lil Wil, Lil Ronnie, Lil Ru, Lil Duval, Lil iROCC, and Lil Son Jackson:

Happy BHM to you all... the world just wouldn't be the same without you doing whatever it is that you do. I'm assuming that's rap, but you never know... maybe Lil Boosie is a practicing physician.

Black History Month Great Black Person #16 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #16 of 28:

According to the internet, 1 in 5 relationships in the 21st century begin online. While this may be true for whitey, I really just don't think too many black people are breaking down the firewall to log onto eHarmony. Enter blackpeoplemeet.com: the site responsible for more black love connections than Barry White. It's great that there's an exclusively African-American dating website and all, but I'm not so sure the creators chose the best name for their site. If you hear their ad on the radio, it sounds a lot like a website that promotes African-American cannibalism. Meet, meat... they sound the same. Homophones... always keeping the black man down. Of course, it got my attention when I heard it for the first time, so maybe the creators knew what they were doing all along. Happy BHM, blackpeoplemeet.com... thanks for making black couples and not black cutlets.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Black History Month Great Black Person #15 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #15 of 28:
NOT the 3-Point Line

Sometimes it's not only what you include, but also what you exclude that's important when making a list. The three-point line is definitely not included in my BHM celebration. The arc was clearly invented by the white man as a means to maintain a Caucasian presence in the NBA. There's no way players like J.J. Redick and Steve Novak would be in the league without it. The only time those guys are useful in the paint is when they're being used as human props to jump over during the Slam Dunk Contest. Now, I'm not saying that black people can't shoot threes... obviously Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, and everyone with the last name Curry have it figured out... but white guys don't always possess the complete skill set (or handsomely bald head) of a Miller or Allen. When you think about it, three is just a bad number for African-Americans in sports. It's how many points a field goal is worth in football... but since all kickers are white, black people have to settle for touchdowns. It's the percentage of black players in the NHL... and that's rounding up. It's the number of strikes black hitters get in baseball before they are called out... talk about prejudice! Shame on you number three and shame on you three-point line.. no BHM honors for you!

Black History Month Great Black Person #14 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #14 of 28:
Michael Clarke Duncan

I was very saddened when Michael Clarke Duncan passed away earlier this year. John Coffey, his role in The Green Mile, is one of my favorite movie characters ever. While Michael Clarke Duncan had many other roles during his successful Hollywood career, I'll always remember him as the gentle giant with healing powers and a name "like the drink, only not spelled the same." Duncan was included in the "In Memoriam" segment at the 2013 Oscars, but I think a life and personality (and body frame) as big as his deserves more than five seconds of awards show screen time. I'm thinking maybe a certain pastry chain could start a Michael Clarke Duncan Doughnuts campaign to celebrate his life. They could even play off of the whole Coffey/coffee thing. It's a shame the NBA already missed its chance at a Michael Clarke Dunc Contest. I might have actually watched that. Even if these foolproof ideas are never put into action, Michael Clarke Duncan's legacy will always endure on film, even if all 6 feet 5 inches and 300 pounds of him didn't always fit into frame.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Black History Month Great Black Person #13 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #13 of 28:
The Kool-Aid Man

Judging by the depth and soulfulness of the Kool-Aid Man's voice, it's likely that he's an African-American; his inflection is very much in the vein of Barry White and Morgan Freeman. And yes, I'm aware that my assessment might be buying into the stereotype that the black community typically enjoys fruit-flavored beverages like Kool-Aid, but that's an awesome stereotype to have as far as I'm concerned. Fruit-flavored drinks are delicious. When I was a kid, I drank nothing but Kool-Aid. It's sweet, it's colorful, and it's ridiculously cheap. I vividly remember loving to go to the grocery store so I could pick out ten different flavors of Kool-Aid for a dollar. (FYI, my favorite was the now defunct Purplesaurus Rex.) I also remember asking my mom if I could be the Kool-Aid guy for Halloween one year. He's always having fun and smiling and partying... he woulda been way better than dressing up as a ghost or a vampire. Alas, that's a difficult costume to construct, so I think I went as a baseball player that year. Wrong kind of pitcher. Anyway, the Kool-Aid mascot is a beloved and an iconic one that takes me back to a simpler time. So does the Kool-Aid Man deserve a BHM mention? OH YEAHHHHH!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Black History Month Great Black Person #12 of 28

Black History Month Great Black Person #12 of 28:
Soul Food

Food was pretty good already, but it got even better with the addition of soul. The history of soul food and southern cooking is pretty interesting if you ever get a chance to read into it; it's very much tied into slavery and plantation life. Soul food staples such as okra, rice, and turnips all originated in Africa and other soul food dishes such as collards, cornbread, and hushpuppies were all perfected by slaves who had little else to work with in the kitchen. Fun fact: Many historians rank hushpuppies as the third most important thing to come out of the Civil War, right behind the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. I would argue that they should be second because, unlike the Gettysburg Address, I never had to memorize hushpuppies in high school. Call me crazy, but I think soul food goes a long way in helping bringing the races together in the South. You can't argue about the President, politics, or social issues with your mouth full of sweet potato pie. So thank you, Soul Food, for all that you've done and all that you've taught me: that gravy is its own food group, that macaroni and cheese is a vegetable, and that chicken and waffles DO go together.